Anybody heard of these folks? I think they might well be among the more nervy of the young-ish writerly set in action today, perhaps even with nerves of steel or, if not, aluminum, at least. I’ve corresponded with several members in recent history via THE2NDHAND submissions and zine trades and, if I can’t say much else, I’d advise to keep an eye out for their work, mostly originating in N.J. (oh a-and in the credits to their 4th edition of the Lo-Fidelity zine, they put a shout-out to “role model” Dr. Mickey Hess, THE2NDHAND’s FAQ editor, longtime compatroit and lately a prof at Rider University in Lawrenceville). Among them are onetime (and soon-to-be-two-time) THE2NDHAND contributor Peter Richter and, likewise, Glen Binger. Their Lo-Fidelity zine brings together the work of many, with a single writer featured more widely in each edition. Prose writer and poet Lauren Cerand made up the bulk of the No. 4, out this year. Here’s a taste from Cerand’s work:
NOTES FROM THE FIELD (3/20/2008)
(Alternate title: God I fucking hate this war.) My father called me last night to say he hadn’t heard from me in a while and to remind me of the staggering expectations that pass for small talk in my family. Afterward, as I walked the rest of my way home in a blue mood, I wondered if I would be destined to always have difficult relationships with people I care deeply for. And then just now as I was sitting in the backseat of a car on the FDR, en route to an event for work, I saw a helicopter hovering over the East River and thought of my dad flying reconnaissance missions in Vietnam, younger than I am now, trying not to die.
Exquisite brevity, we say, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own more maximal approach to the same date five years previous, as bombs began to fall on Baghdad and on our television screens in vulgar display, to paraphrase one of the last great thrash metal giants of the 1980s. Its beginning is pasted in below. Follow the subsequent link for the full gore:
20 MARCH 2003
When I was a kid in SC I never tired of poking fun at the outrageous piety of the born-again, peppered here and there over the town’s landscape and, by the time myself and my brother were teens, beginning to show up in numbers within our own family in the form of among others an overweight uncle who now led every prayer before every Christmas (etc.) meal at excruciating length, my brother and I struggling to keep down laughs at the whole thing.
Down the town at the plaza, Chicago, this is what I talked about to begin with. “The men believe in the capital-R ‘Rapture,’” I said. “Bush is an Uncle I’d make fun of over dinner, essentially, a buffoon, a tired old fool who hasn’t the mind to really comprehend his own country’s needs, thus acts on a personal feeling he deems the very baby Jesus talking to him, essentially.” I talked among the crowd, among the skyscrapers (the buzz-saw cacophony falling from the helicopter above our heads) today to a man I tend to run into throughout my travels, the last time being outside of the bookstore in my neighborhood, where he works. He has his bike there with him, which I admire briefly.
“The violence of Rapture being undeniable, if you know anything about the book of Revelations, I think that Bush and his cohorts simply have it in mind that they’ll push the thing along. Though it’s also a fact that the pious son of a bitch — Bush, mind you — no doubt has the gall to believe that he’ll be carried upward at the moment of return of the Lord. More likely of course that it’ll just be some old lady in a trailer in the Ozarks, before all, the rest of us left burning down here in our filth.”
My cohort here is not into this conversation, and we move on to lighter subjects, funnier talks: the folly of violence and violence itself as seen through the eyes of four gun-enthusiasts going by the name of Metallica, 1987′s Master of Puppets, insanity.
Then the speeches. Click here for the remainder, in which kids are beaten on bridges, horses are used as barricades, and high-fives are exchanged between narrator and former death row inmates…
UPDATE: Richter piece “The Crow’s Nest is live at THE2NDHAND.com as of 11/23/09.